Bill Gates’ clean energy startup, Heliogen revealed Wednesday that mining behemoth Rio Tinto plans to deploy Heliogen’s revolutionary solar technology at California’s largest open-pit mine, located in Boron, to get heavy industry carbon-free electricity.
Heliogen can harness the sun’s strength using artificial intelligence and a network of 40,000 machine vision-controlled mirrors, similar to smart magnifying glass.
Heliogen told that the first machine at Rio Tinto, Heligoen’s first customer, would be the size of around 100 football fields. The collaboration will be to confirm if Heliogen’s technology can substitute fossil fuels in large-scale industrial operations.
“Our goal is to deliver completely carbon-free energy to Rio Tinto for less than the cost of fossil fuels and with zero-emission,” said CEO Bill Gross.
Rio Tinto intends to use the Heliogen AI to power its nearly century-old California mine, which produces borates, a mineral used in fertilizer, heat-resistant glass, etc. According to the agreement, Heliogen’s AI-powered field of mirrors would produce 35,000 pounds of carbon-free steam per hour to help power the site.
If successful, Rio Tinto will use the AI technology to cut the site’s carbon footprint by up to 24%. Moreover, it is also attempting to restor e its image after desecrating a sacred Indigenous site in Australia last year.
Heliogen needs more industrial giants like Rio Tinto to abandon fossil fuels. “Heliogen is being bombarded with customers from all over the world already,” said Gross.